Fantasy Mailbag: Expectations a terrible burden
Each week I'll answer a handful of the most pertinent questions I've received during the week in my attempt, weak as it might be, to bring insightful fantasy analysis to the fore (my email address is listed at the bottom of the piece if you wish to drop me a line).
(1) Jackson is only two victories from his career best of 14 set last season.
(2) Jackson has never posted an ERA below 4.42, so his current mark of 3.37 is tremendous. Sure he hasn't been very good at all for two months with a 5.21 ERA over his last nine starts, but overall when you drop your ERA by a full run, well, how can you complain about that?
(3) Jackson currently sports a 1.24 WHIP. Other than his 22 inning rookie season in 2003, Jackson has never posted a number below 1.51. Again this ratio has been poor since the All-Star break (1.54), but overall the number is still superb for a man who never once has bettered the league average in this category.
(4) Jackson has a career best 151 Ks thanks to a 6.97 K/9 mark that is more than half a batter above his career mark of 6.39. Jackson also sports a career best 2.40 K/BB mark, almost a full point above his pathetic career mark of 1.58, thanks to the fact that he has walked less than three guys per nine innings this season. Still, that ratio has also dipped over his last 12 starts down to 1.93. It's a broken record by now, but even with his late season struggles his overall work is still a career best.
Expectations are a terrible burden, and they threaten to tarnish the fine effort that this righty has put out there this season in a year filled with numerous career bests despite the fact that he is limping to the finish line.
The answer to this question is two-fold. (1) CC Sabathia is a great pitcher. (2)
Sure, it's disappointing that Burnett has just 11 victories this season, but that is his second best total in four years. On the strikeout front, Burnett is nine punchouts away from tying his second best mark in the past four season of 176, though his K/9 mark this season has dipped from over nine the past two years down to 8.21. Still, his career mark is 8.34, so he really hasn't fallen off as much as it may first seem. His WHIP? That is a problem and it looks like he will post the worst full season mark of his career at 1.40. Of course, his previous worst of 1.34 was set last season, so it can't be said that his mark this year is a complete shock. His ERA? After five years under 4.10 his current mark of 4.33 is certainly disappointing, but it can be argued that he has actually done a decent job keeping that number where it is given that his left on base percentage this year of 75 percent is the second best mark of his career. If that number was more in line with his 72 percent career mark that ERA would likely be even higher.
In the end, the season that Burnett has authored is certainly slightly disappointing. At the same time, nothing we have seen from him this season is completely out of the realm of a potential outcome given his skill set, and you have to give him credit for at least one thing -- for the first time in his career he has managed to throw at least 180-innings in back-to-back seasons so at least he was healthy for the most part.
As I discussed in my most recent
As for Bourn, we are taking about an almost identical skill set in many respects. Bourn is hitting .294 on the year with a 0.52 BB/K mark, and that is a mirror image of Davis' work. Bourn also owns a .371 BABIP, another unsustainable number, but he would appear to have one talent that may make the falloff more gradual than Davis -- and that is his ability to do what he does best, and that is hit the ball on the ground and run. Bourn owns a terrific 2.75 groundball to flyball ratio which means he hardly ever gives away an at-bat by hitting a weak fly ball. Davis? His G/F is less than half of Bourn's at 1.29.
If there are no salary considerations for next season I'd say go with Bourn for two reasons. One is that G/F ratio that I mentioned, because as the old adage goes, speed never goes into a slump. Second, Bourn is pretty much certain to pile up 500+ ABs, barring injury, and Davis isn't a sure bet to do so. Remember, GM
You and me both Josh.
Dunn has hit exactly 40 homers in each of the past four seasons, and he has reached that total five straight years (he hit 46 in 2004). With 37 this season he is on the cusp of a 6-year run of 40 bombs which would tie
Dunn has knocked in at least 92 runs in each of the last six years (including 2009), and only four other man can make that claim:
So why no love? Dunn has no speed on the bases with only 11 steals the past three years, and the guy has whiffed at least 164 times in each of the past six seasons. Dunn also has a .251 career betting average, well below average, but this season that number is sitting at a career best .280 thanks to a career-high .346 BABIP. All told, care to guess how many men are hitting .280 with 35 homers, 90 RBI and 75 runs scored this season? The answer is four:
Justin Morneau will miss the rest if the season due to a stress fracture in his back. The injury should be healed completely by the start of 2010, so you should draft Morneau as you normally would.
Morneau has hit at least 30 homers in three of the past four seasons, he hit "only" 23 in 2008, and over that four year span he has knocked in at least 100 runs each season. How many others have hit at least 23 dingers with 100 or more RBI in each of the past four seasons? The answer is three, and they all play first base: Pujols, Teixeira and
However, one caveat should be mentioned. As
Ray Flowers is Managing Editor for